Women Run the Cities 5k


One of the things that I think holds me accountable for running, or working out in general, is signing up for another race before I finish the next one. That way, I have to keep going.

This weekend, I participated in another Sunday race – the Women Run the Cities 10-mile and 5k. Of course, I ran the 5k. While waiting for the race to start, I asked my husband if next year I should do the 10-mile. I should have lost all my weight by then and hopefully this whole running thing would be easier. He looked at me like I was crazy.

The Night Before…

As this was another Sunday race, I had all day Saturday to keep myself busy and distracted so as not to think too much. And I think I did pretty well!

We were up late on Friday hosting a poker tournament. Saturday morning, I took Sophie in to get groomed and then went straight to a coffee shop to catch up on a little blogging.

My food for the day wasn’t exactly stellar. I did a lot of eating out:

Breakfast at The Buzz: Greek Egg Bowl {their portion sizes are actually perfect!} with a White Almond Mocha {skim milk, no whip} followed by a Depth Charge {black coffee with a shot of espresso} before I left.

We had a late lunch at Devil’s Advocate in downtown Minneapolis. I had three meatballs and some polenta and washed it down with a Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic and enjoyed a New Holland Dragon’s Milk for dessert – both on tap!

I didn’t snack all day, mostly because my meals were filling and I didn’t get hungry. So dinner, too, ended up being later: A Cantina Bowl. Don’t judge. Or do.

The biggest problem on Saturday, though, I think was that I didn’t really start to get water into my system until 5pm. DOH!

I went to bed early, following my usual night-before-race ritual of showering and applying lavender oil just before bed to help me sleep. I slept okay, but that 5:30 alarm did not make me too happy.

Race Day…

Breakfast included two pieces of peanut butter toast and a banana {aka “The Usual”}. Remembering how thirsty I was just before and during my last race, I filled up a big water bottle to take with me. The 5k race wasn’t until 8:30am anyway. It was very chilly out! And while I had intended to wear long sleeves for the first time in a race, at the last minute I grabbed a fleece and a scarf. I was glad I did!

It was suggested we take the light rail because there would be minimal parking. We left the house while it was still dark, stopping for our usual coffee on the way. We arrived pretty darn early. Who knew that the light rail ran that early on Sunday mornings? There was time to check out the vendors after I picked up my number and shirt.

Time passed very slowly and I’m thinking it felt that way because I was so cold. And I am planning to run a race in October and even thought about November? I’m a wuss. In any case, Starbucks was a sponsor, and I enjoyed another small coffee from their booth to keep myself warm. Don’t worry, I pounded my entire bottle of water, too {approximately four glasses worth}. That also meant that I had to use the bathroom an insane number of times!

The 10-mile runners started out first followed by the 1-mile run for girls. The 5k was supposed to start  at 8:30, so I shed my extra clothing and handed it to Rob. {However, this is the first race I’ve done that offered a bag check.}

Shivering pre-race…

Still, we didn’t end up starting the race until about 9am. I had to pee again I kept thinking, “I could have gone and been back already!”

I hadn’t anticipated it, but this ended up being a tough race for me.

I kept a decent pace throughout, but everything felt really difficult. My body felt heavy. My breathing didn’t feel very controlled. People who passed me were chatting as if they were just taking a stroll. The route was completely flat, so what was wrong? My mind was taking over:

Why is this so hard?

Why did you sign up for a 5-mile race when you can barely do this one?

How do you possibly think you can run the 10-mile race next year?

I had to do everything I could to push these thoughts out of my mind. It was 37 degrees at the start of the race, but by mile one, I felt like I could handled short sleeves. Still, I didn’t get too hot in my long sleeves by any means.

I still don’t understand why this is so hard for me? Isn’t it supposed to get easier? When all was said and done, this was the second fastest race I’ve run. Quit complaining, Carrie. My chip time:


I didn’t feel so great afterward. Maybe I pushed myself too hard? I walked away from the crowd. After Rob caught up with me {he’s always so great to find me rather than vice versa!}, I started to feel a bit better. We picked up all of the post-race snacks and any interesting vendor freebies and headed back to the light rail. Here’s a photo of all the grub that came home with me:

The Post-Race Grub

I started to drink the Muscle Milk while on the light rail and by the time we got back to our car, I wasn’t feeling very well. I was a little nauseous. I’m not sure if it was the Muscle Milk, dehydration or something else. By the time we made it home, all I could think about was a hot shower and a nap. That’s what I did. I woke up not feeling much better, even after eating a bit. In fact, I wasn’t feeling up to anything until about 3pm. How do I expect to run a further distance if I can barely handle a 5k?

I really need to get past that.

I ran a 5k.  I ran the entire time.  I finished:

Post-race with my first ever “Finisher Medal” – with a virtually non-existent Minnehaha Falls in the backdrop

And I did get my best-looking and best-fitting shirt so far:

The Goods: Women’s long sleeve tech shirt, finisher medal, clip on reflector

List of 5k results for my personal comparison:

  1. 38:54
  2. 38:20
  3. 38:40
  4. 36:08
  5. 38:27
  6. 37:44
  • The Event: 2012 Women Run the Cities 10-mile, 5k Run & Walk
  • The Location:  Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis, MN
  • The Date: September 23, 2012
  • Night Before Dinner: A Cantina Bowl
  • Pre-race Breakfast: “The Usual” – peanut butter toast and a banana
  • My Time: 37:44
  • The Weather: Chilly. 37 degrees pre-race, topping out at probably about 50 degrees by the end of the race.
  • General Feeling: Had no expectations, but it felt pretty difficult and I felt defeated mentally and physically during the run.
  • Uniqueness: A Woman-only race, rated by ESPN as the Top 5 race for women in the country.
  • Size: Sold out to 2700 participants including 10-mile runners, 5k runners and walkers and girls running the one-mile race.
  • The Goods: Women’s long sleeve tech shirt & finisher medal
  • The Grub: Muscle Milk, rolls, bananas, Pearson’s Nut Roll, Old Dutch Salt & Black Pepper Chips, Boom Chicka Pop Sea Salt popcorn by Angie’s Kettle Corn, Bite-sized Luna Bar, Fortune Cookie

Yes, I said Fortune Cookie.

Here was my fortune:

Was I smiling? I don’t know. But crossing the finish line, there’s pride in that.

My next race scheduled is a 5-miler. I’m going to run it very slowly. I don’t want to push it too hard like I did this time. I just want to finish.

In running or in life, how do change a negative mindset into a positive one?



20 responses »

  1. It’s funny how my thoughts are exactly in sync with yours. How the HECK am I not getting faster?? But, try and keep things in perspective. Remember how far you’ve come. Not every race will be a good one. (See my Color Run race review. LOL) And that’s okay.

    In terms of pre-race fuel… the day before I race I lug around my huge 48 oz water bottle with me. It’s heavy but it’s the only way I remember to drink especially if I’m out and about. I drink 16 oz at night while I’m lounging with hubs. I ran a 5K in April having only drank three glasses of water the day before and I nearly died. I also stay dry a couple days before b/c alcohol dehydrates me like crazy.

    Also, someone told me that your night of sleep two nights before the race (not the night before race day) matters the most. And try to eat as clean as possible as possible with minimal dairy (b/c dairy upsets my stomach sometimes.) I also avoid coffee because it dehydrates as well.

    Sorry for the lengthy comment! Just wanted to share.

  2. how much time has lapsed between each of those 5Ks? what’s your training plan like?

    i’ve taken 10 minutes off my 5K time, but its taken speed work, long runs (2 marathons), and time to get there. if you’re doing everything right and things still aren’t improving, you might check with your doctor to make sure that everything is okay. i started seeing a decrease in my paces due to an iron deficiency.

  3. Some races are harder than other by sheer virtue of the fact that not every run we go on is a good one (i.e. getting on the bus). You know? Some days, it just isn’t The Day. That being said, if you perpetually feel like you’re not really seeing improvement, assess the following:

    1. What are you eating? Not just on race day, but in everyday life. What vices and cheats need to go? To do your best training, you have to do your best eating. Period. We are all totally guilty of not doing our best fueling, but it’s a huge factor.

    2. Are you increasing your training intensity? Yes, theoretically if you run the same route at the same pace every day, your body will get used to it and it will get more comfortable, but realistically, you have to push. Training that brings your times down and really makes you stronger is training that hurts and is uncomfortable and leaves you winded and sore. You’re probably ready to add another day (or two) of running. You’re probably ready to start doing some light speedwork. Integrate it progressively so that you don’t get injured, but now is the time to get after it.

  4. You should be proud of your time, your effort–everything! I ran this same race yesterday (it WAS cold!) and it was my first 5K ever. I’m much heavier than you and did a combo of running and walking, but I finished. And you’re right: there is great pride in crossing that finish line. I’ve been wondering why my training isn’t getting any easier, too, but I think all that matters is consistency. The fact that you (we) are getting out there and putting one foot in front of the other, over and over, day after day. Keeping a positive mindset is more than half the battle!

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